Why Pauley Perrette Is Leaving NCIS

Pauley Perrette's two-part NCIS farewell airs Tuesday, May 1 and May 8 on CBS

By Chris Harnick May 01, 2018 4:30 PMTags

It's the beginning of the end of Pauley Perrette's time on NCIS. Perrette's two-part sign off as Abby Scuito kicks off in the Tuesday, May 1 episode titled "One Step Forward."

In the May 1 episode, Abby receives a dinner reservation for two at a brand-new five-star restaurant in an igloo as an award and must decide which coworker to take. Meanwhile, Sara Carter (guest star Skye P. Marshall) begs Gibbs (Mark Harmon) to investigate her mother's murder; she believes the wrong man was convicted.

Part two, "Two Steps Back," airing May 8, features a member of the NCIS team becoming a hitman's target. The team must search through old cases to find out who is targeting them.

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Perrette announced her exit from the show via Twitter in October 2017.

"So, it is true that I am leaving NCIS after this season. There has been all kinds of false stories as to why (NO I DON'T HAVE A SKIN CARE LINE AND NO MY NETWORK AND SHOW ARE NOT MAD AT ME!)," she wrote in a tweeted note. "It was a decision made last year. I hope everyone will love and enjoy EVERYTHING ABBY not only for the rest of this season but for everything she has given all of us for 16 years. All the love, all the laughter, all the inspiration…I love her as much as you do."


In an interview with TV Guide Magazine, Perrette said she was talking to former NCIS stars Michael Weatherly and Sasha Alexander about how to say goodbye to the long-running CBS drama and Drew Carey, who recently guest starred, advised her to not collect mementos from her time on the show. She only took home Abby's parasol, which was something she had purchased for the character.

As for why she wanted to leave, she said she had a feeling. "I believe in God and the universe so firmly, and it just suddenly became blindingly apparent that now was the time," she said. "After a lot of thought, I decided to announce it myself on Twitter because I didn't want it to be turned into anything "shocking." Abby leaving is more than a cheap TV ploy."

From the episode descriptions, it seems like the second part of Perrette's goodbye could be quite emotional. But when asked just how emotional they were, Perrette said, "I actually can't say."

"Not because I'm not allowed to, but because there are so many different feelings. It's a cornucopia of emotions. And there is a character from her past who comes back and becomes pivotal to the plotline," she said. "There are tears, there are laughs, there are more tears and there's a lot of love. It's packed. As an actor and as Abby, I felt a lot. Even right now, I'm running the gamut of emotions."

NCIS airs Tuesdays, 8 p.m. on CBS. It was recently renewed for a season 16.